Dartmoor Gliding News–Sunday 27th April 2014

With daybreak grey but clear after yesterday's rain there was hope that we might get some launches in before the widely predicted showers were due to start again, however the sun soon stirred up the atmosphere and by 10.15 it was raining again.

Gliders remain safely tucked up in the hangar beneath a tiniest patch of blue sky whilst the trout stream works overtime...
So fortune then that we didn't get the gliders out, only for them to get put away wet.  So buoyed by the confidence that they had got one decision right, the Sunday Soarers cast around for other bright ideas to implement, dragons to slay,  damsels in distress to rescue etc. At which moment the phone rang, turning out to be none other than Dave Bourchier looking for someone to fit a nut to the Guslaunch - so not quite a damsel in distress but enough for all 4 Sunday Soarers to be kept fully occupied for the rest of the morning...

Dave Parker manages to breathe life into Roger Appleboom's XC Soar by NOT following the internet instructions...
After a sumptuous lunching on toasted crumpets they turned their attention to the fast approaching cross country season and the Global Navigational Positioning Satellite System where, in spite of the inadequate instructions downloaded to his phone, Dave Parker managed to get Roger Applepad's XCSoar to work - with airspace! So having now managed to get three decisions right in a row, the Sunday Soarers decided to quit while they were ahead and call it a day.

Hey! Did someone forget to shut the gate??

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 26th April 2014

British summer; warm sunshine, gentle zephyrs, thermals from horizon to horizon; right. Wrong; low cloud, occasional heavy showers, southerly wind 20 knots gusting 40 knots. In fact is was so windy that staying on your feet on the runway was a challenge.  Another non flying day.

Low cloud racing past the clubhouse
 The assembled members just quietly got on with the “Jobs to do” list. The repair of the roller was finished, the GusLaunch winch is finished and now ready for the next flying day so that the ML winch can come offline for repairs and new cables. The work on K7M G-DCLT continues.

Repaired roller. ( the slightly misty RH side of photo courtesy of latest shower )

We hope the summer season returns soon.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 23rd April 2014

Setting out for the airfield in torrential rain and under a glowering sky did not look very hopeful. How different from last Saturday’s excitement.

Several stalwarts arrived at the airfield with the intention of working through some of the myriad tasks essential to the smooth running of any gliding club.

The workers inspecting Allan's handiwork
So, the heavy roller was reassembled with new wood bearings and will be finished off when we have sourced the four very large bolts that were missing today. Allan Holland worked away on polishing the scratches on the K13 canopy. Colin Boyd continued with the new instrument panels for K7M G-GCLT which is nearly ready to join the club fleet.

The rest of us worked alongside aircraft inspector John Bolt to complete the C of A ( Certificate of Airworthiness – a bit like a car’s MOT ) and revalidate the ARC for the Zugvogel 3A G-CHKV. Thanks everyone.

The Zugvogel  pictured here in it's natural element
So there we are. Not a day of epic flights and expeditions but rather a day made satisfying by a list of necessary jobs done well.


Matthews First Field Landing

Noticing that the weather was looking very promising I arrived at the club early with my father to set up the top field. My plan was to practise some cross country flying before taking part in the ICL which is fast approaching. I would also be able to practise flying with the clubs new GliderGuider which is a great addition to the club. With the help of Steve Lewis I managed to set a small task: Brent Tor to Okehampton East to Roadford Reservoir to Brent Tor. In addition to this I was going to attempt to get my five hours soaring for my Silver C.

Matthew and the Pirat
Off the winch launch, just after 1115, I went straight into the centre of a thermal allowing me to climb to cloud base of 3500ft QFE. With the thought of turning my back on the airfield for the first time filling me with dread I decided to cross the start line and just go for it so I no longer had to think about it. Taking every thermal I could I managed to get to Okehampton with minimal trouble - fighting the wind was the hardest part. Just before Okehampton was when the trouble began, the thermals began to deteriorate and I was scratching around, luckily I managed to find a thermal and get myself back to cloud base which was now down to 3000ft QFE. Having being pushed back downwind and away from my turning point I turned and 'dolphined' over Okehampton trying to reach my first turnpoint.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of sink and not much lift, the weather had over-developed and the thermals were decaying and the sky was looking terribly blue. I had a big field picked out with another big field just beyond if I was to overshoot but I still was trying my hardest to ease every little bit out of any thermal I could find.

Just before my first turnpoint the realisation that I was going to have to land in a field for the first time hit me, I forgot everything else and let my training kick in. I turned onto finals and opened the airbrakes. Don's voice from my cross country endorsement came in my head: 'are you going to make it?' The answer was 'yes Don I am', but alas, this time I didn't have Don just to apply the engine so we could just fly away again.

Safely in the field
 So there I was, halfway up the field calling up the club to arrange a crew to come and collect me. Thank god they did as it was getting very cold and I was getting a bit peckish. Next time I will take my wallet with me as there was a nice place right next to my field where I could have bought some hot grub - a lesson to learn - money is a must! So, I landed out with class - far away from the airfield and not right next to it, so I would call that a success! Thanks go to Steve Lewis, Andrew Beaumont and Martin Broadway for leaving the thermals and coming to get me; further thanks to Phil Hardwick who allowed us to use his car to tow the trailer.

On the way back to the airfield
It was a great experience and something I'll most certainly try in the future as its what gliding is all about! I’m now incredibly excited for the ICL, that's for sure!

Matthew Wiles

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 19th April 2014

Today was the first of this years “Solo Only” days. There were no instructors on duty so flying was limited to licenced pilots only.

The forecast was giving easterly winds with a mostly blue sky. In fact there was rather a lot of cloud from time to time. At times the conditions were difficult as demonstrated by Andrew Beaumont who soared his Astir for 1hr 46 mostly below 2000 feet. He landed with a big grin on his face and handed the glider over to Phil, his syndicate partner, who then flew for over 3 hours during which he enjoyed strong thermal conditions and wave to over 4000 feet.

Andrew was the first pilot to soar in his Astir
The ASW20 syndicate of Bob Pirie and Martin Broadway both made use of the conditions with Bob managing a good flight in the afternoon wave.

The Pirat where Matthew landed it in the field
Matthew Wiles had big plans today. A possible 5 hours, a short cross country flight; Brentor – Okehampton East – Roadford Reservoir – Brentor; and a chance to get to grips with the latest flight computer now installed in the club Pirat. At flying heights to wind was over 20 knots so these were ambitious plans indeed. After 1hr 34 minutes we had a telephone call from Matt; he hand landed out and was safely in a field near his Okehampton turnpoint.

Ready for the trailer
Andrew Beaumont, Martin Broadway and I dashed off with the Pirat trailer to collect Matt. This went without drama except for the look on student Matt’s face when we explained that is customary for the pilot to treat his retrieve crew to a beer; a custom he upheld later. During the trip back to the club Matt was recounting his flight and he mentioned sharing a thermal over Okehampton with another glider but not one of ours. We assumed this must have come from North Hill.

Back to the airfield
After reassembling the Pirat we went back up to the runway to discover that we had a visitor, John Pursey from North Hill, who had dropped in, in his beautifully presented Lak12, after flying down from his home airfield to soar the Dartmoor wave. He had managed to reach 7500 feet in the wave but, by pushing out to a pre-planned turnpoint, had dropped out of the system and had cut off any chance of a return to North Hill. Interestingly, he had been pair flying with Ron Johns in his ASW20 who had managed the return trip to North Hill and arrived a little later with John’s car.

Visitor John Pursey with his Lak 12
Elsewhere, Rick Wiles, Dave Bouchier and Allan Holland had resisted joining in the flying fun to continue the refurbishment of the GusLaunch winch which is required soon to allow further works to be completed on the ML winch.

A great day with friends and a little excitement.


Silver "C" in One Glorious Flight

11 April 2014

How I achieved Silver distance, Silver Height, Silver Duration and 100km Diploma (part 1), in one flight

After planning this trip with syndicate partner some 6 weeks ago, getting good weather was always a gamble, even in April. However, with a very promising forecast for Friday, Ged and I decided to leave early at 6.15am from Dartmoor to reach Aston Down ( AST )  for just after 10am. The sky was promising and Ged very kindly agreed to let me have the glider to try for my Silver legs (50KM and / or 5 hour duration and /or 1000 metre hight gain) if possible. I decided on an OR task to Enstone (54km) and back (54K) to make sure of the 50km I needed for the silver task. Map marked with my route and GPS programmed, and at 12:45 took a winch launch from the smooth tarmac runway and skylaunch winch combination to 1200ft height. I headed for a good cloud, was awarded with my first good climb to cloudbase, which at that time was only about 3000ft QNH.

With a good looking sky on my track of 060, I had no hesitation to continue the task which by now had already triggered a ‘start task’ in my GPS, giving me a turn point goal at 54KM out. Apart from making sure to avoid airspace, the route out to my turn point was not too difficult – each cloud I headed for worked, and blue gaps offered good reachable clouds to entice crossings.

Crossing blue gaps (with good clouds to reach) on route about 20km to turn point at Enstone
By the time I reached my turn point (after a slow cross wind 1hr 20min), cloudbase had now increased to 4200QNH.

Rounding the turn point Enstone aerodrome
The route back took a little more work and caution as I had bigger blue gaps to cross with the better looking and out of bound sky towards airspace at RAF Brize Norton. So checking the chart, GPS and compass all corresponded decided on an accurate route that would take me very close to one corner of the boxed airspace. When I reached this corner that I needed to round, I was now down to my low of 2100QNH (about 1500QFE), but with good fields ahead offering good ground sources of lift AND potential landing options if that proved fateful, I decided to push on. I needed another climb to get back so I worked very hard working every little beep before finally being rewarded with the best climb of the flight that elevated me at 6-8kts (and occasionally over 10kts) back to base at the now higher 4500ft. This was what I needed, half way up the climb the glider guider beeped to inform me that I was now above final glide back to AST.

After gliding back to AST at 60-70kts, I still arrived high with a still good looking sky and gliders everywhere to help with the decision now to go for my 5 hours. I had been in the air for 2.5 hours, had plenty of water in my camel back, a packet of biscuits, so only one option really – to park myself over a large town like Stroud and work every bit of lift to stay high, as I knew that 5 hours would take me to just before 6pm and towns would continue to work till late.

For the next two hours, I boated about over Stroud, Gloucester, and Nympsfield in a line of energy that kept me high (occasionally over 5100ft QNH to get my silver height), until I reached 5 hours of airtime, before air-braking down to land next to the club house just after 6pm.

A beautiful flight, and lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

7kts lift, flying 60kts, dolphin flying nearing 5000ft QNH over Stroud (Task already completed)
High under cloud over Stroud, server estuary in the distance
Mike Gadd

Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 16th April 2014

Wall-to-wall sunshine and a crosswind from the southeast (which decreased in strength as the day went on) raised everyone's expectations that wave may have been on the cards - and if not wave, some thermal activity. This resulted in a healthy turnout of enthusiasts who set up the field early and whose mood became increasingly positive as the results of the recent airfield surface smoothing operations made themselves felt.

Steve Raine waiting to fly his Astir in the clear blue sunshine
The wave never really happened, but later on there were some strong 'blue' thermals, which brought smiles to the faces of several pilots and trainees who flew with me in the K13, and the members of the Twin Astir syndicate who were getting back in the groove as the big white bird emerged from hibernation (and its annual inspection). Steve Raine and 'Scratch' Hitchen seemed to enjoy themselves in their Astir, while Karl Andrews - faced with little in the way of opposition - glued himself into the K8 for several launches; in the process contributing handsomely to club coffers.

Today's launch queue
Again full marks for those who arrived early and got the show on the road, and especially to 'Scratch' and Robin Wilson who delivered some fantastic launches. I should also like to thank Steve Lewis who, when not welcoming visitors and conducting trial lessons, ran the launch point with energy and hood humour

"Scratch" with young Freddie
Today our average age of attendees was reduced by the presence of Mark Hardwick aged 15 (son of Phil) and Freddie Fricker aged 12 (grandson of yours truly). Both worked hard, and were rewarded with a flight at the end of the day.

Mark waiting to go in the back seat of the Twin Astir
Visitor-wise, Sue Rowe from Lydford came along with her husband  for a trial lesson, and it was good to have one day course candidate Angela  Banfield back with us expressing enthusiasm for becoming a full flying member. Shortly before we shut up shop, we were honoured with a visit from Sue Watt  (John Bolt's daughter) and her husband Colin (Chief Flying Instructor - and my boss - from Lasham).

Visitor Sue Rowe
After an absence of several months, it was really great having Dave Bourchier back 'on line' casting his expert eye over our ground equipment and facilities, and we are grateful to Martin Broadway for responding to Rick Wiles's request for help and spending several hours preparing and repainting components of the Guslaunch winch.

Angela Banfield in  the K13

Bob Pirie

Ged and Mike Fly at Aston Down 11th-14th April 2014

Great weekends' flying in the Cotswolds, got all 3 legs of my Silver C (height, duration, and distance), plus my 100Km diploma (part 1) in one glorious flight on Friday. Thanks to Ged for allowing me exclusive use of the glider on a fabulous day to allow this to happen. (height yet be to verified from calibrated logger) 

On the first leg with a view of Cheltenham
Saturday, although was flyable, was not soarable, so the decision was made to scrub that day and be sociable in and around the club. In the evening we enjoyed the facilities of the clubhouse and attended the 'Cloud Flying' briefing to get signatures on forms required towards the EASA cloud flying endorsement.

Ged in task planning mode
On Sunday, in more challenging conditions with lower cloudbase and light lift, Ged flew a careful 100km task (The Aston Down - 'Housden Cup' club 100 triangle from AST-KIM-BRO-AST). This was excellent flying that included a low save to get him back to site.

Waiting in the grid
Then on Monday, with an improved forecast, we agreed to share the aircraft, but again Ged offered me first go with the airplane to attempt a task. I selected the same task as Ged flew on Sunday, but this time in reverse (AST-BRO-KIM-SAT) as the sky was looking better that way around. After getting in the air, conditions were so strong, I decided after my initial climb to get on with the task, quickly. I flew most this at 60kts, and crossed the finish line after a 22km final glide at 140kph, completing the task in 1:44. For part 2 of the 100km diploma, I needed a handicapped speed of 65kph, and I managed 63.9 - just short of what I needed, so perhaps another day then!

The "Housden Cup" task
Ged then took the aircraft for a couple hours of local soaring, before we put it back in the box and headed for home.

In summary we flew successful tasks (Ladder submitted) on 3 days out of 4 and totalled 13 hours of airtime between us. Very happy to be fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. Aston Down were as friendly and welcome as usual, this is my second visit to this well equipped club, and I would highly recommend it.

Thanks again to Ged, who gave me prime slots with the aircraft - I owe him the same next time.

Mike Gadd

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 12th April 2014

The dawn broke with blue skies and seemingly endless sunshine. But this was not to last. The sky had 8/8th cloud cover by the time the flying programme started. The wind was 8 to 10 knots from the west, straight down the runway, and it was cold. I had started the day with shorts and tee shirt but this was very quickly exchanged for warm trousers and two fleeces.

Andy Small with CFI Don Puttock between flights
We welcomed back One Day Course candidate Andy Small who started his course a couple of weeks ago with a wave flight with Ged and a lesson on the simulator with me. Today he completed his course with CFI Don Puttock. We also welcomed visitor Jonathan Gliddon who had booked in for an Air Experience Flight. This was duly delivered with a couple of flights in K7M G-DDAK.

Air Experience visitor Jonathan Gliddon
Then Debbie Howarth arrived. She was also booked in for and Air Experience flight. It was Debbie’s birthday and she had left home not knowing that she was on her way to the airfield. She took all this in her stride and really enjoyed her flights.

Birthday girl Debbie Howarth
 Club flying continued throughout the day with our Air Experience Instructors under training Mike Jardine soaring in his Astir and Rick Wiles soaring in the Pirat. Junior member Peter Clifford was on site and continued his training.

Rick Wiles practicing his rear seat flying with Justin Clifford in the front seat
A trip to the hangar revealed a small group  working on Sean Parramore’s Skylark 3. It’s C of A will be finished soon. Ray Swinfield was also discovered in the Pirat trailer having spent the day rewiring the electrics. We all owe you some thanks for your efforts Ray.

Skylark 3 undergoingit's C of A
Interestingly, a group of cyclist had dropped in and were having their picnic launch on the grass opposite the clubhouse.

Visiting cyclists finishing their picnic.

The day finished in the with chat and a beer in the clubhouse.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 9th April 2014

With only one club two-seater available this week, additional pressure due to unusual circumstances to provide several of our normally solo club pilots with two-seater flying, a couple of trial lessons to deliver and several cable breaks, it was not the easiest of days. Then there was the airfield itself. drying out and pristine following last week's hole-filling and rolling efforts. But the potential wrath of vice-chairman Colin Boyd was ever-present, had we created any ruts while landing or retrieving gliders.

Young Benjamin Hyde Enjoyed his trial lessons today.
I started the day with a briefing of the dozen or so members present, covering the airfield surface situations. Today's mission was to try to keep everyone happy, by providing every member with at least one flight. Then there were the needs of trial lesson candidates Benjamin Hyde and Nigel Payn to be met.

Visitor and new member Nigel Payn began his flying training today
With a couple of regulars absent, but the welcome return of several familiar faces in the form of Adrian Pike, Chris Fagg, Mike Keller, Martin Broadway and Malcolm Roberts, there was no shortage of enthusiasm and experience. But despite reluctantly imposing a rather pathetic 'one flight per person' ration, we still ended the day with a couple of our hardest workers unflown. So whatever happens next week, it'll be VIP priority for Adrian and John Bolt.

I'm not sure how many launches we achieved, but Steve Raine and Malcolm Roberts worked hard for most of the day winching and retrieving,  later to be replaced by night shifters Robin Wilson and Karl Andrews. Momentum on the instructional side was maintained by Steve Lewis, and later boosted by Ged Nevisky, after a morning spent at the dentist's.

From start of play until mid-afternoon, conditions got better and better, with good thermals and some useful cloud streets. It's just a pity that, apart from Phil Hardwick and Andrew Beaumont with their Astir, none of our other private owners rigged and flew, because I believe flights of several hours and maybe even a run to North Hill would have been on the cards.

Conditions were not always easy - but 'interesting' - and Phil had what he described as one of the most enjoyable flights of his life of nearly two hours' duration. Then Robin Wilson flew the K8 for 39 minutes, bringing it back 'to give someone else a go'. Never one to miss an opportunity, I handed over the two-seater to Ged, and spent a fascinating half hour or so flying along the downwind side of a descending cloud street; in the process climbing in a straight line towards Launceston, to a second cloudbase at 3,000 feet. Slightly concerned that I might become cut off from the field by clag and possibly rain, I airbraked my way down to resume my back-seat duties.

Towards the end of the afternoon much colder air quenched our enthusiasm, but not the spirit and good humour of DGS members which,  along with our stunning scenery, make our club such a special place.

Bob Pirie

Dartmoor Gliding News–Sunday 6th April 2014

"I wouldn't do this if they paid me for it!" said one delighted Dave Parker. Delighted, that is, to be stood at the east end of a rain lashed airfield, the wind ripping the words from his mouth as he watched Jerry Wellington in the (warm dry) digger and Mike Swann mounted on the (cold wet) vibrating roller 'redistributing' some of the abundant peaks on  the track into the more needy troughs.

We had already got a thorough soaking just surveying what had been achieved over the preceding 'task' week (very impressive) against what  remained to be done, so another couple of lashings was, well, water off the proverbial...

Not gorillas in the mist – but heavy plant crossing – can you tell what it is yet..!?
(Mike Swann on the roller being guided by Dave Parker).
It has to be said, though, that 2 hours impersonating a motorway building gang was quite enough and as we retreated to the haven of the clubhouse and the woodburner to dry our sopping gear - which quickly overtook the aroma of the Sunday Soarers' bacon, eggs  sausage and tomato - we reflected upon what good planning it was by those who, 30 years ago, decided to put the club buildings in such an effective hideaway from wind and rain. 

Jerry Wellington, Mike Swann and (in the distance) Dave Parker redistributing some of the track (from crown to ruts)
Our flagging morale rapidly restored by tea and crumpets, courtesy of Dave Parker, there was just time for a couple of briefings to our Junior brethren Andrew Swann and Mike , before grandfather Mike decided that a hot bath and dry clothes were the order of the day.  But not before they swept the mud from the hard standing outside the hangar.

Mike Swann and juniors Andrew and Mike sweeping down the hangar apron.
And so we departed, some to the prospective arrival of a new Wellington (Jerry's first grand-daughter) whilst others were happily  looking forward to pouring 2 inches of water from their existing ones (boots, that is). And none of us were paid for it - nor would we wish to be...!

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 5th April 2014

Here is a fog warning. “LOOK OUT FOG”. That was how it was today. The fog remained all day. At times it was so thick that it was possible to stand in the middle of the runway without seeing the edges.

Launchpoint in the mist
There was work going on as usual. Allan and Rick worked away on improvements to the GusLaunch winch. Ray was working on the Pirat trailer electrics.

Mike and I installed the new electronics into the Pirat. It now sports an EW Micro recorder ( flight recorder ) and a GliderGuider. This is a moving map and flight computer system to help pilots with cross country flying and the Interclub league competition flying. Club pilots now have the chance to fly with modern avionics in a club aircraft
GliderGuider in the Pirat. The box with cables on the right hand side is the EW Micro Recorder

Other tasks undertaken included a review of our spare aircraft canopies and possible canopy replacements for some of the club aircraft. After investigating some hammering sounds I discovered Chris and Karon working on the K10 trailer. It now has a new floor, Most of the interior fittings replaced and the outside has been given a good wash.

Chris working in the K10 Trailer
Karon washing the outside of the K10 trailer.
She didn't take too kindly to my suggestion that she does my trailer next
 During the afternoon the committee held a meeting in the clubhouse. Part of the discussion was a detailed review of the club fleet with Fleet Manager Ged Nevisky.

Committee at work
In the early evening there was an informal club meeting organised by Mike Gadd. Apart from enjoying a very nice buffet and the odd can of beer, the meeting discussed the new Glider Guider and it’s use. Pilots will need to demonstrate that they understand this technology and how to let it help without distracting them before they will be allowed to fly with it. So a little swatting up to be done.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 2nd April 2014

Low cloud with occasional drizzle. Wind still from the SE. The assembled members though decided to forgo flying today to help with the runway and track repairs.

Ged Nevisky and digger.
 All this week Vice Chairman Colin Boyd has been leading gangs of volunteers repairing the winter ravages to the runway and centre track. They have hired in a digger and vibrating roller, and taken delivery of several lorry loads of crushed stone / gravel materials.

At work on the track
All the attending members took part, some driving the equipment others working with rakes and shovels. By the end of the today, most of the airfield had been rolled, large stretches of the track had been relayed and the club roller filled with concrete. Good progress.

Some of the gang pictured during their lunch break
Other news today saw the arrival of club member Adrian Pike with a beautifully framed picture of The K13 on approach which he has presented to the club for display in the clubhouse. Many thanks Adrian.

Our new Photo
So thanks goes to everyone that either has already helped or is planning to during the rest of the week.

Let’s hope Saturday is a good flying day.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Sunday 30th March 2014

With the wind forecast at to be from 140 at 15kts, rising to 30kts with height, there was legitimate expectation that wave would be in place, just off the end of the winch launch, ready and willing to fling us all to great heights with little or no effort on our part. 

Or so it seemed.  That assumption was, however, pretty wide of the mark: patience, perception and persistence were to be the watchwords for the day. 

With no gourmet breakfast to delay us we got off to an early start, Roger Applekist rounding the corner just after 8am with this K-6CR fresh from soaring the ridges at Talgarth (where he was checked out for aerotow and landing on postage stamps!), closely followed by Juniors Andrew and Mike and Bob Pirie, who had obviously read the forecast and got his Mothering Sunday duties out of the way before advancing his clocks! (What a country?!  We celebrate our debt to our Mums by depriving them of an hour's sleep!) 

An uninspiring sky - no clues about the presence of wave
 The launch point already set up by the Saturday crew enabled us to make ready relatively swiftly and Andrew took the K-8 directly after the first K-13 launch.  Sadly, there was just not enough upward boundness to get us into the wave, which tantalisingly delivered small patches of zero and large pools of 4 down at 1200ft!

K8 ready to go
Whilst our launch rate did not quite match that of an American aircraft carrier, we did manage to get Bob in the Pirat, Jerry in the K-8 and myself in the K-13 with Darren Wills and Jeff Cragg airborne before lunchtime.  At which point, problems with the winch took us back to that old familiar - single cable operation – for a period while Scratch and Roger wrestled yards of cable that appeared to have gone into 'auto-serpent' - off the drum self coiling – mode.  Thanks to them and Jerry Wellington taking on the winch driving we managed to continue flying until they could get both drums back in operation. 

On Approach
With arrival of the afternoon the wind, if anything, increased in strength, setting up a long wavelength lenticular downwind of Sourton Down, frustratingly too far away, thus dashing hopes that the wave was to be…  Until, after a launch failure each for Trevor Taylor and Andrew Swann (Andrew's an ultra low level insufficient power release he handled with breathtaking self confidence), they both got the springboard they were hoping for (in Andrew's case to 1,400ft) that enabled them to make contact.  And thus they remained, apparently stuck to the sky at 2,500ft whilst we on the ground could only look on in wonder for what seemed like hours – in fact for Andrew it was 57 minutes before he landed – but that was because he had forgotten to set his watch – the watch his granddad had bought especially - so he use the timer to record his hour..!  Round again, Andrew!

Thanks go to the team who kept the show on the road today, in particular Roger, Scratch and Darren – for whilst there was plenty of quiet patience at one end of the airfield, there was probably a lot of swearing at the other!

Martin Cropper